Emergency: 911
Telecare: 811
Poison: 1-800-565-8161
5850/5980 University Ave., Halifax, NS B3K 6R8

Nutrition and a Healthy Pregnancy

Clinical Nutrition Women’s Health would like to welcome you to the IWK Health Centre Nutrition and a Healthy Pregnancy webpage. The resources listed on this webpage are geared to help you make decisions on healthy eating during pregnancy and more. There is something for everyone whether you are planning a pregnancy, are currently pregnant or have recently had a baby.

Links to Subjects: Preconception - Pregnancy - After Baby - Practical Stuff - Body Weight/Body Image - Food Sources of Omega-3 FatsSuggested Reading - Helpful Smartphone Apps


Are you thinking about having a baby? The following websites provide information on healthy eating, supplementation and addresses some commonly asked questions to help you prepare for pregnancy. 

Healthy Eating

Thinking About Having a Baby? Dietitians of Canada Fact Sheet


Why all women who could become pregnant should be taking Folic Acid

Frequently Asked Questions

Good Health Before Pregnancy: Preconception Care Frequently Asked Questions 



General Information

These websites are great resources for general information on multiple births, fetal development, childbirth and emotional health that can be used as guides throughout your entire pregnancy.

Government of Canada: Pregnancy and Fertility

Sick Kids: Pregnancy & Babies Resource Centre 

Public Health Agency of Canada: The Sensible Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Healthy Weight Gain

Are you wondering how much weight you should gain throughout your pregnancy? The following website allows you to calculate the recommended weight gain for your height and weight.

Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator

Physical Activity & Pregnancy

How much physical activity is required during pregnancy? These websites provide information on the benefits of an active pregnancy, as well as some suggestions for choosing safe activities. 

Benefits of Physical Activity During and After Pregnancy

Physical Activity and Pregnancy

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

A healthy diet during pregnancy is necessary in order to provide your growing baby with the nutrients it needs. Following Canada’s Food Guide, while paying special attention to a few particularly important nutrients, will help to support your baby’s growth and development.  

Canada’s Food Guide: Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Healthy Eating Guidelines for Pregnancy

Food Safety

You may be wondering which foods are safe to eat during pregnancy, and which ones should be avoided. The following link provides safety tips and a list of the foods you should avoid.

Food Safety for Pregnant Women

Nutrients of Concern

The following link provides information on nutrients that are particularly important for both your own health and the health of your baby during pregnancy. Nutrients that are particularly important during pregnancy include: iron, folate, calcium, vitamin D, iodine, and omega-3 fats.

Nutrition A-Z

Food Sources of Folate

Special Diets

The following links provide information on a variety of special diets, and offer tips to help you feel your best during pregnancy, while ensuring that your baby receives the nutrients it needs for growth and development. 


Whether you are entering pregnancy with pre-existing diabetes, or have recently been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a healthy pregnancy can still be achieved. The websites provide information on managing your diabetes throughout pregnancy by following a healthy diet. 

Living with Gestational Diabetes

Pregnancy and Diabetes

Healthy Eating for Diabetes During Pregnancy

Multicultural Resources

Preconception Care and Healthy Baby Checklist


It can sometimes be challenging to meet your requirement for certain vitamins and minerals when following a vegetarian or vegan diet. These web pages offer tips for the pregnant vegetarian and vegan eater to make sure you are getting the necessary nutrients in your diet.

Vegetarian Eating For All Ages 

Nausea and Vomiting

There may be times throughout your pregnancy where you are experiencing morning sickness or nausea and vomiting. Follow this link to learn how to cope with these symptoms.

Common complaints of pregnancy- Tips to help you feel better


Lactose Intolerance

Managing Lactose Intolerance

Food Sources of Lactose

Celiac Disease

The Canadian Celiac Association 

Bowel Concerns

Digestion slows down during pregnancy, which can cause constipation for many pregnant women. These websites offer tips to promote good digestive health during pregnancy. 

Increasing Your Fibre Intake

Canadian Digestive Health Foundation

Eat Right Ontario: Digestion/Digestive Health

Multiple Births

The following link offers information pertaining to healthy eating during a multiple pregnancy. 

Nutrition Guidelines for Multiple Pregnancy

Nutrition for Multiple Birth Pregnancy

Nutrition When You are Expecting Twins or Triplets (Calgary Health Region)


After Baby:

One of the biggest concerns you may have as a new mom is how you will feed your baby. The following links provide information on breastfeeding and formula feeding.


Breastfeeding Basics

Breastfeeding and Vitamin D

Nova Scotia promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding!

When can a breastfeeding mom begin to lose weight?

Healthy Eating While Breastfeeding: The Basics


Practical Stuff:

Life with a newborn can be overwhelming. The following websites provide information geared to address some concerns you may have related to planning your meals, eating affordably and food safety.

Meal Planning

Fresh Foods for your Fridge

Get Stocked!

Get Frozen!

How to read Nutrition Labels

Plan Your Own Menu

Four Weeks of Healthy Menus

Eating Affordably

Food choices when money is tight- Budget-friendly information sheets and recipes

Free PDF Version! Good and Cheap - Eat Well on $4/Day

Frugal Finds in Halifax

Good Food on a Tight Budget

Food Safety

Food Handlers Storage Guide

Plastic Safety Frequently Asked Questions

Food Allergies

Fish and Mercury


Body Weight/Body Image:

Many women have concerns surrounding body weight and body image during and after pregnancy. These resources address the effects of pregnancy on body image and provide tips for healthy weight loss after pregnancy. The FAB program is a free 3-week weight loss program offered to new moms in Sobeys grocery stores. 

Pregnancy and Body Image

Weight Loss After Pregnancy

FAB Program


Food Sources of Omega-3 Fats:

Dieticians of Canada


Suggested Reading: 

Better Food for Pregnancy, by Daina Kalnins & Joanne Saab (2006)

Nutrition Guide to Healthy Pregnancy, by Leslie Beck (2004)


Helpful Smartphone Apps:

Check out these fun smartphone apps to see how healthy eating can be made fun and easy. Cookspiration offers recipe ideas tailored to your mood and schedule. eaTracker can be used for meal planning and recipe analysis. eaTipster offers daily nutrition tips to make healthy eating easier.